TextMate: the definitive editor?

Unfortunately it appears I’ve no time to talk about programming. It takes lot of time to think about something useful, to write examples and such. However, I promise I will doing it soon.

And yet I’m again talking about a text editor. In fact since most of my computer time is spent on an editor, this makes sense. It’s the most crucial application to me (and the one I spend most time to learn using its full power).

I already said I discovered TextMate. The more I study the more I’m amazed. In fact it did substitute Aquamacs even for latex editing. The new bundle is perfectly integrated with Texniscope and “Command-B” opens in TextMate the pdf document compiled from the document I’m editing. That makes environment such that TexShop almost useless to me.

Emacs is more powerful. But most of the times I’m not using that power. It’s my fault, of course. Still TextMate is always open on my Mac, and I started using it even for latex. That’s the main reason. If I have to do a very long latex editing session I still do prefer Aquamacs.

The Python mode is now wonderful. It lets me check my sources with pychecker or with pyflakes. It allows me to run them from inside TextMate, lets me run unit-tests with one command. And even more. Right at the moment it’s the best python programming environment I’ve ever met (a part from WingIDE).

The only thing I’m missing right now is a “prolog mode”. And probably I have to work on TextMate/Xcode integration (it has been done, but I haven’t done it yet). Oh, and I’m looking forward to see TextMate 2, that should have massive improvements on the “project management” side. And probably I’d like some more refined auto-completion with static languages. This could have somehow been added (TextMate can be extended and customized a lot, still in a really simple way), but I’ve not yet discovered if and how.

But the reason I wrote this is another. For years the “Text editors” with capital T have been Emacs and vim. BBEdit was a beautiful Mac editor, but first it is very web-oriented, second it is somehow less powerful in the way it deals with text.

On the windows platform I have not found really impressive text editors. There are a bunch that are powerful and easy to use. But in fact I installed vim (gvim) and I was happy with that. Most such editors were more concerned in “integrating” command line utilities (compilers, latex, interpreters) with the editor not to have the “programmer” opening the “DOS console” than pure text editing.

Newer editor for Linux (Kate for example) also paled in comparison with Emacs or vim. Now I’m wondering:

  1. Was I superficial? It is possible that no one did something that could be compared with vim or Emacs before TextMate? This seems really unlikely.
  2. Why haven’t I spotted such editors? They exist? Let me know. I’m talking about “pure text editors”, not about “IDEs”.
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4 Responses to TextMate: the definitive editor?

  1. Ha ha, the missing Prolog mode in BBEdit was what got me started with Aquamacs in the first place…

  2. rik0 says:

    Unfortunately no text editor has the full power of Emacs. And some of it modules are unique.

    The prolog mode is something that misses almost everywhere. Vim has a prolog mode, but it is so basic it’s almost like writing as “text”. BBEdit has none.

    TextMate hasn’t it. I couldn’t believe: there are HTML modes for RubyOnRails and Django. There are modes for Haskell and literate Haskell, for Dylan, Modula 3, MIPS Assembly and even Quake cfg files. But no prolog mode.

    And the Emacs latex mode… I’ve never seen such a powefull latex environment. With small docs you don’t have problems even with “lesser” editors, but when you work with 100+ pages, lots of references and such Emacs is simply irreplaceable.
    Latex-dedicated editors do not even come close to Emacs.
    And “live equation rendering” is also amazing.

    Recently I saw a friend of mine who fully configured Emacs to work as a Java IDE (with jdee and everything). I was amazed.

    I perfectly know I should study more Emacs. Unfortunately I spent the last ten years switching back and forth from vim to Emacs and vice versa. In fact I had no time to fall in love with anyone of them… just a little more than basic use. Sigh.

  3. Ted Pavlic says:

    Have you tried the PDF viewer Skim? It’s a great replacement for TeXniscope.

    As of version 0.5, it’s autorefreshing is done with an event-based scheme. This actually can cause problems if your PDF generation involves deleting the PDF and then copying a new one in its place. This is what simpdftex does, so I fixed it with the script simpdftexnodel.

    In the next version of Skim, spelling checking will be added. Combining this with PDFsync (already supported) makes it a powerful feature.

  4. Emil Christensen says:

    A nice port of TextMate to Windows is E-texteditor. It utilizes the same bundles and snippets as TextMate.

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